Here is the official English-language summary of the address Pope Francis gave at this morning’s general audience:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Our catechesis on Christian hope leads us in these last days of Advent to contemplate the mystery of Christmas as the coming of hope into our world. By fulfilling his promises and sending his Son, born of the Virgin Mary, God established his Kingdom on this earth and directed our hope to eternal life. This hope is realistic and reliable; it is a hope that redeems and saves, for Christ, by coming in the flesh, has opened the way for us to ascend to the Father. In these days, as we prepare the Christmas crib in our homes and churches, let us be attentive to the message of hope it embodies. In the little town of Bethlehem we see revealed God’s love for each of us, however small or lowly. In Mary, who trusted in God’s word, we see the Mother of Hope. Joseph, too, is the man of hope, who gave Jesus his name, which means “God saves”. The peace proclaimed by the angels was heard with joy by the shepherds. May we too open our hearts to the Good News of the Saviour’s birth and renew our hope in the Kingdom of justice, peace and holiness that he came to bring.